Blog Archives

Green Means Go! (Puke Means Stop!)

The OKRD is ramping up to a busy season, and while we’re ramping up we’ve been working on our off-skates fitness to give us a bit of an edge. As a fitness enthusiast, I’ve been working with our skaters to push them to their limits, and I figured you – my readers, can workout alongside us.

This is the first workout post I’ve done, and this workout was great. It definitely works your cardio and makes you sweat.

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Set a timer for 20 minutes and go through the circuit as many times as you can within the 20 minutes. We do our workouts at a track, so our laps are approximately ~400m (if I’m not mistaken).

Do this at your own pace and listen to your body!

Disclaimer: I am not a personal trainer, but a very enthusiastic fitness person, with the hopes of possibly one day being a certified trainer.

Good luck!

Until then…

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2 years.

This weekend, I get to see what 2 years of the grind looks like. I get to see what numerous derby games, countless bootcamps, and much sacrifice gets me. I get to go to my hometown and I get to leave it all on the track..

Derby ate my life, my soul and my relationship… and I don’t look back in regret.

Sure, I probably should’ve focused on my nutrition, did more power lifting.. maybe transferred to a better team.. but I’ve prepared the best way I can with what I have.

I’ve gotten up at 5 am to go to boot camps in the morning to make sure I have fresh legs for practice, I’ve also gone to practice directly after boot camps to see what it’s like to have tired legs and to train hard. I’ve driven out of town to get more time on my skates with different skaters, I’ve skated on my lunch breaks to get even more time on skates – I skate pick up with ANY team who wants me, did my share of tournaments, shed tears, had my share of frustration and pain.. I feel so much more prepared this time.

 

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2  years of my life was spent looking forward to this weekend.

I know in my heart that I am double the skater I was last time I did this. I need to believe in myself that I am a good skater and that I can show them how hard I can work on both sides of the line. I will take the kind words and support and the butt kickings I’ve had over the years with every league and skater I’ve skated with with me, every little part of their lives have contributed to this journey and I appreciate every single one of them.

I feel like I can leave it all out there for the coaches, I’ve lost so much on this journey that I have nothing to lose on Sunday – and I will skate my heart out.

I see you tryouts, and I hope that you see me.

… until then..

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A Decade of Destruction

I’ve kind of hummed and hawed over what I wanted to write here… turning 30 seems like this weird foreign thing that I haven’t quite wrapped my head around… but at the same time, age is only a number.

If I could go back and have a conversation with myself on that 20th Birthday, I would tell myself a few things:

  • Your real friends are the ones who stick around no matter what. No matter if you come and go and find new friends, your true friends are the ones who will welcome you back every time, they don’t judge you (though they might make light of your life choices). They become your second family, and sometimes know you better than you know yourself. Those friendships will help you grow and you’ll realize how amazing those people in the next few years.
  • Relationships do not define who you are. Yes, a relationship may seem important, but who you are with does not define you. A good relationship can add purpose to your life, but it shouldn’t be the only purpose you have.
  • You are who you choose to be. In the past 10 years, I’ve been able to explore so many different opportunities because I’ve followed my passions. “Cars aren’t your entire life?” , “Skating is just a phase?” I guess I’m not very good at listening, because I followed my passions. I’ve gotten to work within an industry that I’ve always wanted to, I even got to try out for a national team (and I plan on doing it again). Follow your heart, find your feet and you’ll be impressed where you end up.
  • Find someone who makes you the best version of you that you can be. Yeah, sometimes it can be a headache, and sometimes he seems like a pain in the ass, but without him, I don’t know where I would be. Dave has this way of pushing me out of my comfy bubble, he knows how competitive I can get, and he helps me be the best person I can be.
  • Simple things are sometimes the best things. A dance party when you clean your house, people watching at the mall,  sunshine, the feeling of freedom on skates. The beauty in life is in the simplicity of something that can bring a smile to your face. Life can get complicated, just stop and smell the roses once in a while.

 

10 years is a long time to figure things out, people grow and change, life moves quickly. I can only hope that in the next 10 years, the journey keeps taking me to amazing places. Let’s go!

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Follow your bloody mother effin’ heart.

A long long time ago, I fell into this circle of friends… not quite entirely sure how I got there, but… there I was. Y’know those puzzle pieces that just, don’t quite fit… but you try to make it fit?

Yeah, that was me.

As my life fell apart… like it seemed to have done on a yearly basis between the ages of 18-21, I vividly remembered something that one of those so-called friends told me.

“There is more to life than cars.”

While I can agree with that, I will have to mention this…. without cars, my life wouldn’t be what it is now.

I have a bit of an obsessive quality in my personality, I get super-passionate about something and it becomes the only thing I can think about.. skating, wrestling, cars.. if I was interested in it, at one point.. it was the only thing I could think about. At that point in my life, my life was cars… I had just gotten my drivers license, I was attempting to save up for my first car. In my head, having a car meant freedom, it meant that the only rules I needed to abide by was the rules of the road (and we all know those rules are merely a guideline 😉 ).

Needless to say, those ‘friends’ I had didn’t stay my friends for much longer, and me… I said fuck it, and followed my heart. I wanted to work in Automotive Marketing, I wanted to be part of that industry… I worked my ass off, and everyone knows.. the harder you work, the luckier you get.

I got to be part of the automotive community in Calgary, a big part of the Mitsubishi scene in the 403, worked with dealers, clubs… I got to meet Dave, who I then moved out with and got to move on to much bigger and better things.

… all because I followed my bloody mother effing heart.

I look at the pieces of my life right now, things that people said I’d grow out of, things that people said were a phase… and I’ll be honest, I don’t see any of those, i see all the epic things that I’ve been able to do, amazing people and journeys that I’ve been able to go on…

… and all because what?

Yup.

Nobody sees the world through your eyes, nobody knows how you process or what your motivations are. Find your feet, follow your path, because people WILL doubt you, people will think you’re crazy and obsessed, but y’know what.. that’s their energy they’re wasting.

You do you, and don’t worry about what anyone else says.

FOLLOW YOUR HEART!

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Awesome things in 2014

2014 is nearing the end, and to reflect on the year that was… I figure I would write about a few awesome things that took place in 2014 …

1) I did a mud run and then played roller derby in the same day (capping off a 5 week streak of derby games – starting with a tournament!)

Photo by Kelly Dutchak

Photo by Kelly Dutchak

I have played more roller derby this year alone, than the previous 4 combined. Most of which took place between April and May. I also issued a challenge to myself at the beginning of the year to finish a mud run, so I trained accordingly for the demands of what my body needed for many derby games and a mud run… but what I didn’t factor in, was playing a game AFTER a mud run.

I was asked to play with the Revelstoke Derailers after the Kelowna MST run, and being the fool I was, I said yes! My first mud run was quite the experience and I’d defintely do it again! The challenge was to get home, shower off and get all the mud off of myself and then sit in a car for 2 hours and then get un-stiff to play the derbz. Well, I did! And came along with the Derailers as they claimed victory against the Kamloops Wreckers.

This year has been a great year in roller derby, I have had such fun skating with the Sun City Sirens and the Thompson Okanagan All Star Team (annd anyone who wants to pick me up! 😉 ). Between home games, tournaments and scrimmages, I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of this amazing Okanagan roller derby community.

I’ve learned that I LOVE tournaments, and I love the physical challenge of training my body to see how far I can run, how fast I can go, how much I can lift. I can’t wait to see how much I can push myself in 2015!

2) I finished school!!

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I’m done, done, done done! No more working all day in code, and then going home and coding (unless I’m working OT, which seems to be happening a lot this week). My last semester was definitely the hardest and most trying just dealing with program requirements and taking 2 courses at the same time, but I feel so great and so much lighter and happy to say I finished school!

3) Lego

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EVERYTHING IS AWESOME! Seriously, it is! I got back into Lego in 2013 and 2014 I started to collect more buildings, I even annexed the train table to give my Lego a home and now I have my little city (as yet un-named) to build and it’s been a great hobby that I’ve taken on. I love building the sets I get, it’s a great way for me to get working with my hands and more about spatial awareness. Also, I *think* I’m getting Dave into Lego, so I’m hoping it’ll be a fun hobby the both of us can do 🙂

Santa was awesome to me this Birthday-mas and I finally have a few modular buildings to add to my modest collection, I look forward to posting a small tour of my lego town for you guys!

4) Rose City Wheels of Justice

THIS TEAM. omg. Watching their rise to the WFTDA finals was amazing, and with the late season acquisitions of Serelson and Rivas, it just made an already strong team.. SUPER strong. I love watching Scald Eagle jam because she just exudes power, something that I’m trying to work towards is to be powerful.

They took such a fight to Gotham that nobody has ever done before, and it was amazing to watch this team come together and be strong and be there for each other in this amazing moment. My heart broke for them in that last jam, but I know they’ll take what they’ve learned and become even stronger, and from them, I draw inspiration to become a better team player, and become a skater.

5) Skating Park

I like skating, skating is the best

To me, this is easily one of the highlights of the year… getting the balls to go to the skate park and mess around in the ramps and jump all over things. Skating park has opened up a whole new avenue of things to do on skates (and I LOVE skating, skating is the best). I love getting up early, having the park to myself with tunes in my ear and just jamming around on anything and everything I can think of. I am by no means a pro skater, but I love park skating and can’t wait for the snow to melt so I can skate MOAR!

6) Going home for the holidays

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For the first time since I moved, I was able to go home and celebrate the Christmas season with my family, and boy was it a whirlwind of a trip. Did some last minute shopping, helped with cooking and wrapping gifts and I still was able to do some work-work while I was there. It was nice to be able to celebrate my nephew’s birthday with him and to be able to participate in the Christmas Bingo as well as being the Santa for this year. It definitely was awesome to be able to spend time with my family and see their faces when they opened gifts, and awesome to see the amusement on my nephew’s face when he was opening gifts. It was definitely worth the wait, and hopefully I’ll be able to afford to be out there more for the holidays.

 

2014 was a great year filled with amazing accomplishments, some difficult times (being injured sucks), trying times and of course happy times. I couldn’t fit everything that I would love to write about in one blog post, but I look back at the year and I smile at the good memories that were made and look forward to making even more.

Thanks for the memories everyone! Let’s make this year even better!

– Until then…

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No Comfort Zones Here

I’m not old. I swear.

I honestly, feel like a teenager again. My daily life consists of work, homework, training and if I’m lucky, I get to hit up the skate park, another one in a long list of things that have become obsessions for Blair Block.

It honestly started pretty innocently at the beginning of summer, in my quest to find new things to try on my skates, I came across the awesome Rollerbones video of Estro Jen (aka Michelle Steilen), and from there it became this need to try to play at the skate park.

A Sunday skate date led me into the the skate park at Ben Lee and from then on, I felt like I wanted to just keep getting better and better because it was just so fun.

I’d find myself among 3 people at the park on Sunday mornings and just even dropping into a ramp and feeling the speed threw a shit-eating grin on my face because it’s just so damn fun.

I’m not going to lie, I don’t have any tricks I can pull, I just seriously love to ride the ramps and try to jump over things (I can’t even shoot the duck yet..), but just the sheer challenge to different levels and areas is just so much fun.

If you really want to get comfortable on your skates and want to step outside of your comfort zone, go to the skate park, try things out and pretty soon you too will be addicted! Also, check out Chicks In Bowls on Facebook!

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Yes to Hypertrophy!

So, for a while there, I was suffering from Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. It was mostly due to overuse, to running, jumping, and pushing myself as far as I could. This meant that I had to stop for a while, I had to rest, take a bit of time off skates and off training, and trust me, it was not a fun time. It’s not really an injury that I felt that sidelined me at all, it hurt enough that I couldn’t push myself, but not enough that I couldn’t skate.

Took a few weeks off physical activity completely, and re-evaluated how I wanted to approach my training in the coming year (and beyond!). I was lucky enough to win a free gym membership to The Woman’s Place at a Ladies Football Tournament over the summer, so I told myself that I would start training there after my rest time off of training.

Well, while in my lack of physical activity stupor, I stumbled upon (okay, not really stumbled upon..) a blog post from Sandrine Rangeon (AKA Francey Pants) on a 10-week Strength Program for Roller derby. Upon reading that, I discovered that she also had written a Hypertrophy Program that she suggests to do prior to the strength phase. Being the scientist I am, I decided to venture off into Hypertrophy land and see where it took me.

Hypertrophy is likened to building the foundation for a house, as it is increasing muscle volume. I figured, hey, if I’m starting new, let’s try building a house!

I’ve strength trained before, but not following any sort of regimen. At the beginning of this program, I did not set any quantifiable goals, however, I tracked and logged the weights that I lifted to see if there was a marked increase in my lifting ability. Below is a comparison from week 1 to week 6, and how many reps and sets are involved in each.

Exercise Week 1 (2×10) Week 6 (4×8)
Back Squat 80lbs 135lbs
Shoulder Flies 10lbs 20lbs
Assisted Pronation Pull Ups 10lbs 40lbs
Leg Curls (per leg) 35lbs 90lbs
Seated Low Row 40lbs 150lbs
Curtsy Squat 25lbs 70lbs
Back Extension 0lbs 25lbs
Calf Extension 20lbs 45lbs
Bench Press 40lbs 80lbs
Split Squat 80lbs 135lbs
Bent Over Row 35lbs 70lbs
Deadlift 55lbs 95lbs
Dumbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press 15lbs/arm 25lbs/arm
Hip adductions 60lbs/leg 110lbs/leg
Hip Abductions 60lbs/leg 110lbs/leg
Lat Pull Downs 100lbs 150lbs

 

I’m feeling really strong post-hypertrophy and I feel like I’ve laid down a strong foundation in which to build upon, I do miss doing the stairs and crossfit, but I feel like I need to really build my body better to prevent future injury (and to last as long as I can to make it to Team Canada Tryouts in 2016(?))

I now take a week off to rest and do a few cardio based activities as I prepare for for TOAST’s game against the NWO in Chilliwack and move into the 10 week strength program!

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The C’s of Jamming

I have been asked recently for advice on how to be a better jammer. I’ve asked this advice of other skaters before, and I know I’m not the best jammer a’la Kim Janna, but  I’ve spent 2 years honing my jammer-skillz and am now a blammer for the Sun City Sirens! The game of derby has evolved so it’s not just the small speedy skaters that can be amazing jammers, but wrecking balls and all sorts of jamming techniques. I haven’t quite figured out what type of jammer I am (jukey, wrecking ball, juggarnaut, speed demon), but I like to think I’m a decent combination of all of those.

These are a few of my little jammer training C’s, things I like to think about in training and while jamming

Cardio.

Much like Zombieland, the very first rule is cardio.

Yes my dears, it’s cardio. You need to be able to move at high intensity for a short period of time and then be able to bring that intensity down for your lap around. Cardio is key, having the endurance to be able to be forced out, jump on your toe stops and then run back before you can get recycled too far is a lifesaver. By working on your cardio, you’ll ensure that you have the endurance and ability to enter the pack in a mostly-controlled state which also means that you will remain clean. You don’t know how satisfying it is to skate a game as a jammer and get zero penalties, and I can owe all of that to cardio.

Remember, when you’re tired, you’re not going to play as clean as when you are not as tired (man, that was a poorly written sentence.). I can attest to this, in my peak this year, I was able to jam and block games and get zero trips to the box, I recently played against the Revelstoke Derailers (last week) and I was coming off of an injury and not training as hard, and I got 4 penalties! Cardio not only helps jammers, it helps blockers!

Cardio keeps you clean!

tl;dr: think of the opposing blockers as zombies and RUN LIKE HELL!

 

Confidence

 

From http://fuckyeahdragracegifs.tumblr.com/

Own it. Embrace it. You are a jammer.

There is quite the difference between HAVING to Jam and WANTING to Jam. I spent last season as a jammer, because I HAD to be one. I was still learning very much how to move my lighter body around, and at the same time, learning how to throw that body around people who were throwing their bodies at me. I was the skater who was one of the most agile on the team, so by default.. I became the jammer. It was a good way to cut my teeth at the art, but at the same time… the mindset wasn’t there. Fast forward to this year, my team has a wealth of skaters who could throw on the star at any point in time and do well in the position. This gave me the chance to explore jamming at my own pace, and through that I’ve figured out that I actually really like jamming.

I often look at a successful pass as me outsmarting not just 1, but 4 blockers. At some points in time, it’s you vs. 4 other skaters, at others, you have back up. There’s this amazing ebb and flow to jamming that you just kind of have to go with, and with confidence you can just go with the flow. I know I can move my skates like this, oh look a blocker has moved there, that’s okay, I’ll just contort myself into this position. Now when the time comes, I LOVE to jam, I love to play mind games, jamming makes me feel really good about myself and my skills on skates.

tl;dr: Do it because you want to, not because you have to!

 

Consistency

You know that thing you really suck it? keep doing it, and doing it, and doing it until you can no longer do it wrong. Nobody got good at jamming  just by doing it once in a while, they kept hammering and hammering and doing it over and over again. Consistency is the key to success, simple having a training routine that remains consistent, maintaining consistent nutrition will help you on your journey.

I spend lots of time doing a skill over and over and over, sometimes the skill doesn’t make sense to people, but it’s something that I want to be able to put in my toolbox that I can bust out in the heat of the moment. Muscle memory is important in sport, nothing becomes a fast twitch motion until you’ve practiced it hundreds and hundreds of times.

tl:dr: Busted out an awesome pirouette? Do it again, and again, and again until you can’t get it wrong.

 

Creativity

Really, it’s more like trying new things. I like to call it “science-ing” I find myself wanting to try all of the things on skates lately, and through those forays outside of my comfort zone, I find myself improving. I go online and look through bout footage, I read training blogs (http://fastersoapbox.blogspot.ca/) and watch animated gifs over and over again (yay! http://rdjunkies.tumblr.com/), I’ve even found myself on youtube looking at videos of skating that has nothing to do with derby to pull moves and body positions from there.

From youtube or various blogs, I find things I want to do on my skates and I try them, and sometimes they fail and I fall down and it sucks, and sometimes it’s amazing and I add it to my box of things I practice and practice and practice.

Creativity is an amazing thing!

tl:dr; SCIENCE!!

 

These are just a few of the little things I like to think about when I train for jamming (or am jamming), but this doesn’t say that none of these rules apply to a blocking! Now, go out there, work on your cardio, be confident, consistent and creative!!

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… and it’s over, for now…

It was a nice bus ride home from Abbotsford, snow capped mountains, clear roads…. a clear mind.

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I did it, I really did it, and it all was so surreal. I didn’t make it as far as I would’ve liked to, but in the end, it’s something to aim for, a target…. a goal.

I know now what I need to work on, what key tweaks will help me reach that better level, I’ve got 2 years to get there.

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Thank you to everyone to sent kind words or ‘likes’, everyone who visited my blog to read words of this journey, Thank you to my hosts Bitter and Rogue, who were most amazing hosts and were super supportive all day long (nay! All weekend long!)

The journey isn’t over…not yet, not any time soon… in reality, this journey has just begun.

Let’s go.

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And here we go, Blair tries out for Team Canada: Take One!

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go.. and a short bus ride later, I’ll be in Chilliwack, BC for my first Team Canada try out. It’s taken me over a year to get to this point. I’ve trained hard and pushed myself so far outside my comfort zone that I no longer know exactly what it is. IMG_20130703_071727

I’ve been up at 5 am, away from home several nights a week, I’ve become stronger than I’ve ever been before, and this weekend will be a jumping off point for even more greatness. I’ll admit, it’s going to be a long shot, I know that there are far more skilled skaters than myself out there, but I’m going to leave it all on the track and skate away with a big FUCKING grin on my face because I can say it. I can FINALLY say it.

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“I tried out for Team Canada.”

… and I did it on skates.

I want to set a benchmark for myself to meet and exceed, I want to come back year after year and get better and better…. and this try out hasn’t even started.

Hey! 16 year old self, remember when all you wanted to do in your life was become a speed skater? Remember when nobody would help stand by you? Remember those dreams that you had?

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Well, kid… this weekend, these dreams come true. It may not be the olympics, but it’s damn close and you’re going to leave it all out there for the coaches to see, I want you to make those coaches want to watch you. You’re going to go there and be a sponge, you’re going to learn everything you can, because this is the dream, and you’re going to live it, and you’re going to have the BIGGEST fucking smile on your face!

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